Towards the end of 2016, we participated as a church in the National Church Life Survey (NCLS). This is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on how we are growing as a church and where we can keep developing as we seek to make and mature disciples. Whilst the summary report is available, below are a few highlights of the findings. What we value: Overall, people most value the preaching, sharing in the Lord’s Supper, and children’s ministry (closely followed by small groups/prayer) at our church. Encouragingly, people indicated that they want to give more attention to spiritual growth and the inclusion of new people.
Sense of belonging and commitment to vision: A total of 94% had a strong sense belonging. 83% of people were fully confident that our church can achieve its vision and goals, with an additional 14% partly confident (only 1% were not confident). 82% of people were aware and committed to our vision (only 3% were not aware of our vision).
Evangelism and Outreach: Whist only 16% of people feel ‘at ease’ speaking about their faith with others and look for opportunities to do so, 49% of people invited friends and relatives to a church service in the last year and 29% were involved in evangelistic/ outreach activities. People were active in demonstrating their faith in a variety of tangible ways. I think this is encouraging and also allows for lots of growth in this area (especially outside of our comfort zone).
Serving in the life of our church and beyond: 58% of people thought that their skills and talents are being used well at this church (20% were unsure). Excitingly, 22% want to be more involved and only 1% want to be less involved. There are clearly some opportunities for us to help one another discern and use our gifts in the life of our church. 60% of people participated in wider community groups too!
Children’s views: Whilst only 14 children completed the survey, it was encouraging that 100% of them thought that the adults of St Bart’s and their families were good role models of following Jesus.
There is much to give thanks for here, but also ample opportunity for growth and development. The various leaders in our church have been working through these results and will continue to do so.